n6 THE GAY GENIUS thought he could achieve distinction by abominable manners. There is a story that once the neo-Confucianist philosopher Cheng Hao wa? having a conference with Wang Anshih at his home in the early days oj the reform. The son appeared with dishevelled hair and bare feet and carrying a woman's scarf in his hand, walked right up to his father anc asked what they were talking about. "Why, I am discussing with "Mr. Cheng the new measures which are being criticised by the other ministers," Wang replied. The son plumped down on the mat where they were sitting and said with a laugh: "All we need to do is to cut off the heads of Han Chi and Fu Pi, and there will be no more opposition." How much Wang was to suffer for his son we shall see soon. It was not a very pleasant household, for there were the two uncles who had all along disapproved of Wang's doings and who had particularly warned Wang against the double-crosser, Huiching. Confucius once said thai one should "banish die lewd music of Cheng and keep away from the fawning flatterer." So one day when Wang Anshih was having a con- ference with Huiching and his brother Ankuo was playing a flute out- side, the premier shouted to his brother: "Will you banish the lewd music of Cheng?" His brother shouted back: "Will you keep away from the fawning flatterer?" Now the clique was worried about the future. Huiching, however, had not given up all hope, and he now saw his chance to rise to power in Wang's stead. There are certain people in this world who can turn on the tears at will, and Huiching and Dunquan went to* the Emperor and "wept before him" in the most touching manner. The thought 9^ what was going to happen to the country gave them great distress. With their gift of persuasion they were able to turn the Emperor back on his old course, and Huiching was made the prime minister. Now the quarrelling really began. The trade dictator of the country, Lu Chiawen, was at this time impeached. Reports of the abuses and extortions of the trade bureau had of course reached the Emperor's ears, and he asked Wang Anshih, who was still in the capital, about the matter. "Chiawen has always followed the official regulations rigorously, and therefore he has made many enemies. That is why he is being attacked?- Wang Anshih replied. ^1 "But," said the Emperor, "the government receives actually very litdl revenue from the excise tax. Besides, I don't like the idea of selling fruit aad ice and coal. It is undignified for Our Imperial Government." "Your Majesty,".said Wang Anshih, "should not bother yourself about such trifles. These are things for the small officials to worry about You should concern yourself only with the jnajor policies of tbe government."